(Eating) Disorderly Conduct

In high school, my daughter completed an International Baccalaureate subject in Art.  Much of her art centered on a theme of beauty and a warped female interpretation of beauty.  This  “cutout book” was a satirical statement on how girls could reshape these works of fine art, by slimming down these ancient beauties.

She got rave reviews from the reviewer for this work in particular.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I’ve become obsessed about getting to my goal weight.  I simply will not eat carbs or sugar.  It’s sort of like putting an aspirin between your legs to not get pregnant – I just won’t do it.  I also was a little alarmed that I cut off the taping my foot doctor had done to my foot last week because it prevented me from swimming.  I’ve been wondering if such extreme actions are really healthy mentally.

But, on the other hand, I get increasingly frustrated with the fat and flab I see now hanging from my arms, legs, and stomach showing up in my reflection in the mirror.  It’s hanging around like guests at a party who won’t leave long after the party is over.  I just want to be rid of it, so my mind starts thinking of ways I can cut corners.  I’ve even thought of surgery and liposuction.

When I visited my daughter in Florida recently, I was very disappointed to discover I had gained four pounds upon my return.  I’ve since lost them, but am still where I was a few weeks ago.  So, my progress has stalled once again.

I’m considering going back to My Fit Foods for another 3-week period.  I’m fairly sure I won’t have the same dramatic weight loss I had the first time ’round, but I thought it might help to introduce a new regime of eating healthy.  I feel like I’m in a rut.

Introspection on My Own Obesity

I’m squeezed into 1A here on a JetBlue flight Orlando-bound to visit with my daughter’s family for a few days.  I hit another milestone today.  I was able to get into this seat and fasten the seatbelt.  Something so simple that millions of travelers do every day was not available to me.  I used to bring a seat belt extender on all my flights.  Once in my seat, I would discreetly snap it together before the seats filled up around me.  I always tried to make sure I was one of the first in my section to board for this reason.  Everyone dislikes overweight seat partners.  I know this.

As I have been sitting here, I was thumbing through Texas Monthly and noticed something else.  I’ve been paying particular attention to fashion, jewelry, and hairstyles.  Now, I secretly think Pinterest is to blame for my sudden interest in all things girlish, but it did catch me by surprise.  Now that I’m on a path toward losing my weight, I’m feeling the powerful magnet pull of my inner femininity.   This is something very different and very welcome.

Thinking of how life is changing for me, reverting me back to my youthful image-conscious self, I started contemplating why I allowed myself to stay obese.  As I’ve explained before, a pharmaceutical drug put a hundred pounds on me very quickly in the 90s.  It was around the time I met my ex-husband (1995) that I was really beginning to put on the pounds.  He didn’t care about my weight and was always very complimentary about my looks, so I didn’t really care about the weight gain as we wound into our ten-year marriage.

But there was more to it than the malaise that sometimes comes with marriage.  For me, the weight was protection.  The layers insulated me from physical abuse in my subconscious mind – abuse from my past that I’ve begun to discuss on my personal blog.  I know it sounds weird, but I’ve been aware of this for a long while.  It’s as if I couldn’t be bruised or broken if I were, well, larger.  Further, after my marriage ended, the extra weight served as “male repellent.”  I tried dating and had lost some weight right around the time of my divorce, but I was still in love with my ex-husband and was unable to seriously consider a new relationship.  A decision I regret, but it was an unavoidable consequence resulting from the disintegration of our family.  After that initial stint, I was not interested in dating at all.  Obesity is the best way I know to not attract a new partner.  I regained those pounds and more, leading up to tipping the scales at 300 at the end of last year.  This was the wake-up call I needed.  I realized I was limiting my own happiness and decided to shed the toxicity that surrounded me – body and soul.

This post is more serious than my usual posts on this blog, but I have wanted to convey that there are complex psychological reasons why individuals stay obese.  Each individual has to deal with his or her own personal demons and should exist in a judgment-free zone.  I will always support an individual’s free choice to reject the societal pressure to conform to a commercial ideal of beauty.   For me, losing my weight is going to afford me the chance to live again.  Rather than dying slowly from the outside in, suffocating under the weight of my own insecurity and mental battle scars.

Slimming down, down, down… even my feet.

Image

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty serious about getting to my goal weight.  I’m over a third of the way there, so my clothes are not fitting right.  I’ve retired a lot of my “fat clothes.”  However, I don’t want to buy retail clothes because I want to keep going. What’s the sense in buying new clothes that I will not fit in at some point in the future?

To that end, I’ve been picking up things in thrift stores.  It’s sort of fun.  I’ve found some designer clothes in sizes that fit, and feel great when I don’t spend a lot of money. But, I’m leaving tomorrow to see my daughter and grandkids and felt like I should at least have a pair of jeans that fit, so I went to Macy’s tonight.

Picking out clothes to try on, I realized I had dropped 4 pants sizes!  That’s awesome!  I’m still in “fat” sizes, but what a jolt of adrenaline in the dressing room when I fit into jeans four sizes smaller than the last time I had bought them.  The real test will be whether I sell/donate my fat clothes and clear out my closet, so there is no going back.

Another weird surprise was I also needed sandals with a strap on the back for my annoying heel issue (which seems to be getting better, but still hurts).   I went down a half-size in my shoe size!   That’s as awesome as it is bizarre.

I will never be a skinny bitch like the woman in this photo, but I will rejoice when I can buy normal sizes.  I will also be very, very broke.

Exercise Improv

I suck at swimming.  I’m a disgrace to my Zodiac sign (Pisces).  I marvel at the way people just glide through the water, effortlessly.  It’s as if they have a secret motor beneath the surface propelling them forward.  How is that even possible?  Nonetheless, because my heel is still on the mend, I need to swim rather than do any other kind of aerobic exercise.  I won’t win any Olympic awards for my swimming performance or style, but I will get in the pool and get my heart rate pumping.  I will say that after ten minutes or so, I could actually feel my muscles.  That was pretty cool.  I’m guessing I’ll build up stamina over time.

I have to put my TEAM weight loss program on hold.  Very disappointed in that.  I will also start weight-training tomorrow with my trainer.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep losing weight if I don’t exercise.  I don’t think I’ll gain weight, as I’ve really tackled the eating thing.  I simply don’t eat foods that are not healthy or will put the pounds back on.  It’s easy now, and even rewarding when I find something new I like to eat.

That’s all for today, just wanted to make a note that even if you have to make adjustments to your weight loss program, all you risk is a little embarrassment in form.

Fighting Fat with Math and Accountability

In the online social tech world, I simply love being surrounded by math/coder/algorithm brainiacs who are working on Big Data problems and solutions.  It’s given me a finer appreciation for the precision of data at scale and the truth it reveals.

To that end, I’ve decided to start capturing more of my own metrics data for my 50% off campaign.  I ordered a Withings Scale recently.  The scale is a bit pricey, about $200 or so with shipping and tax.

Price notwithstanding, it’s a  beautiful piece of machinery and isn’t an eyesore in my bathroom.  It prompts me to weigh in every morning on my iPhone.  The scale measures weight (in tenths of a pound), Fat Mass, and Lean Mass, as well as provides a BMI reading.  These readings are then pushed to my web site where I’ve been tracking my weight loss: LoseIt.  And, I can access them on my iPhone, iPad, any computer and even push to Twitter and Facebook if I choose to.  (I will probably start doing the Twitter push once I get down about twenty more pounds.)

One of my business advisors, Esther Dyson, has been interested in self-regulating health care solutions for a long while.  I think I’m beginning to understand her passion for it.  When we put control of our bodies in our own hands with sophisticated tools, we are empowered.  These gadgets empower me and hold me accountable for my progress.  Because of the social web and my network of friends, I have the luxury of sharing my progress – on the good days and bad.   The support and the data that has wrapped my trek to lose this massive amount of body fat has sustained me and kept me on track.

I highly recommend making an investment in these tools.  The life you’re changing is 100% yours.  And before you can change the world, you need to change yourself to be the very best you can be.   Don’t think twice about the investment.  It can be amortized over a lifetime of good health and deeds.

Goal-setting and Life Set-backs

I reached a major milestone yesterday.  I lost 50 pounds.  I have been very excited about this news.  Of course, I have a long way to go. Two more goals (another 50, and the final 40), and I will be at my target weight which is 160.  That seems  way too heavy for normal women, but that’s where I will feel very comfortable.

Losing this much weight takes time and endurance.  I recently injured my foot (plantar fasciitis).  The doctor said I have to stop walking/running for exercise and have to stay off the treadmill.  That is extremely disappointing as I’ve been enjoying the  gym TEAM weight loss program.    Alas, I can swim and lift weights, and possibly  ride a stationary bike, so I will continue to exercise.

So, onto my next goal: the next 50.   That would be 200 pounds.  Sheesh.  It all seems so daunting, but, hey like my last post said, “I’m doing this.”

Have a great day!

Lawdy, Lawdy, I’m Doing This!

Getting your mind and body disciplined to lose weight is a lot like learning to ride a bike, I think.  At first you’re wobbly, insecure, easily thinking, “I can’t do this!”  But, with a lot of encouragement and the will to keep going, you start riding on your own!  That feeling of, “I’m doing it!  I’m riding a bike by myself!”  is pure elation.  Even if you need training wheels to get started, that liberating feeling when you’re cruising down the street on your own is pure joy.

So, I am starting to ride free of training wheels.  My mind is locked onto getting to my goal weight, and my body is responding to the physical training I’ve put myself through.  I signed up for a TEAM weight loss program at my gym and am really enjoying it.  OH, it’s not easy, but that’s part of the fun. I actually jogged yesterday on the treadmill and was not out of breath or had any chest pains.  Like a miracle, really.

Another good analogy:  exercise is like marital sex (for women, I guess).  You kinda don’t want to do it (nag, nag, nag), but when you’re done, you say to yourself, “Jeez, why don’t I every want to do this???”  No more explanation needed. 🙂

In the spirit of massively greater transparency this year in 2012, I’m going to start posting my weight so anyone who’s interested can track with me.  I started at 300 (count ’em!!) pounds.  I have had some rocky loop-de-loops, but am progressively moving toward my goal weight which is around 160.  So, even though I’ve lost a lot by most people’s standards, I still have a long way to go.  Stay with me!

I invested in a Withings scale.  Highly recommended.  Already finding some interesting data points. For instance, I weighed more after I came back from the gym, but my total fat percentage was lower.  Cool!

Here’s where we are today:

French Women Don’t Get Fat (or Ugly)

Ah, Paris.  I love you so much more than you love me.   All the women in Paris look like this young woman.   They exude fashion sense and good taste.  Walking around in Paris is a veritable moveable feast in style and sophistication.  Except, of course, in the heavily trafficked tourist areas where the out-of-towners blight the landscape.

I say this with no apologies.  I felt extremely uncomfortable in Paris as an overweight, under-dressed American.  But, in that reality, I was able to appreciate Paris all the more.  Sort of the old yarn, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club who’d have me as a member.”

Don’t misunderstand, this frank acknowledgement doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem or feel badly about myself.  It’s more of a recognition that looks are a form of Art.  I had forgotten this until I visited Paris.  It gave me a new perspective on beauty.   I tell my daughters (who are incredibly beautiful) not to define themselves by their looks.  I believe this wholeheartedly, but there is a virtue in complementing your beautiful surroundings with your own beauty.  Not sure I’m conveying this correctly, but it was a great learning experience and one I will remember for a very long time.

Now, onto weight loss issues.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to avoid sugar and carbs in France.  I did really well for the first few days, but eventually broke down.  I even had pommes frites and pasta at one point.  I was really worried that when I returned to the US, that I would have gained ten pounds or so.  Much to my delight, however, I actually lost a HALF POUND!  I know why, too.  We WALKED the entire city, every day.   I wish I had my Fitbit in Paris, because – guaranteed – I was walking over 10K every day.  The best surprise for me was that I was able to walk these long distances without the usual resting, etc.  My feet hurt, but I was not out of breath or exhausted, etc.  I had no problem taking the long flights of stairs or going up hills.  It’s a testament to the work I’ve been doing.

After a wonderful trip, and a good few days catch-up and back to my new normal eating, I am very proud to report I have lost 40 pounds.  I feel great, and am looking forward to continuing with my 50% off campaign. Someday, when I can wear the clothes I’m collecting on Pinterest, I will return to Paris.  And slip in quietly unnoticed, which will indeed be a beautiful thing.

The Magic of Believing

I read this book, The Magic of Believing, when I was an adolescent.  This book, combined with a very strong faith, enabled me to pursue many paths and dreams with conviction and courage.  I very much believed in the power of the imagination to deliver on goals.

I started creating posters of my future.  With a little glue, scissors, magazine clippings, and poster board, I would assemble a collage that reinforced what I was working toward.   These posters were amazingly effective.  Even after I graduated college, I still enjoyed making them and displaying them.  I took a lot of satisfaction in achieving the dreams that I outlined on these posters.

I found an old one recently and realized I had achieved everything I set out to do.

To that end, I created a new one for my 50% off campaign.  I can probably even afford a frame now, so I’m looking forward to hanging this one and allowing the images and promise to seep into my sub-conscience.

Pinteresting Goal-Setting

As you know, I’ve decided to approach this mammoth weight loss effort as a project, or better, a campaign. I call it my “50% Off” campaign.   It’s a great way to keep focused on the goal, but have some fun along the way by treating it as a series of milestones and achievements.

Accordingly, I created a 50% off board on Pinterest. I’m posting clothes there that I like in normal sizes.   Although there have been great strides in the fashion world to offer better-designed plus-sized clothes, it’s still a fashion travesty if you’re not a size 0 or 2.

I’ll never be a 0 or 2.   (I think I was born a woman’s size 12.)  Nonetheless, I look so forward to the day I can buy something in a normal size.